Tag: anthony hopkins

MOVIE REVIEW | ***SHAKESPEARE WEEK*** Titus (1999)

titus

“If one good deed in all my life I did, I do repent it from my very soul.”

Going into Shakespeare Week, I didn’t expect too many surprises in terms of plot.  Even if I had never seen or read a version of the specific plays before, most of them are just general knowledge at this point.  Or, they’re loosely based on historical fact, so I have that to start with.  But with Titus I had never heard of Shakespeare’s play or knew a single thing about this adaptation.  It’s good to still be surprised by something that’s hundreds of years old and written by the most famous writer the world has ever known.


Caesar has died, and while his two sons (Alan Cumming as Saturninus and James Frain as Bassianus) rush to claim his throne, the people of Rome choose the recently returned Titus Andronicus (Anthony Hopkins), the victorious army commander, as their leader.  But, Titus refuses and endorses Saturninus.  When Saturninus decides to take Titus’ daughter and Bassianus missus, Lavinia (Laura Fraser) as his wife, Bassianus and Lavinia run off to be together.  While Saturninus settles for Tamroa (Jessica Lang), Queen of Titus’ recently defeated enemies and current trophy of that defeat. (more…)

MOVIE REVIEW | ***AFI 100*** #74. The Silence of the Lambs (1991)

“The American Film Institute’s list of the 100 Greatest Movies was selected by AFI’s blue-ribbon panel of more than 1,500 leaders of the American movie community to commemorate 100 Years of Movies”. Every weekend(ish) during 2015, I’ll review two(ish), counting them down from 100 to 1.

 Silence

“You know what you look like to me, with your good bag and your cheap shoes? You look like a rube. A well scrubbed, hustling rube with a little taste.”

Airport book level thriller.  Over the top, trashy story.  Big acting, cheap thrills and the most pedestrian level of shocks. The Silence of the Lambs has all of that.  It also has five Oscars to its name.  And for all of that cheap, trashy over the top B-grade schlock, it more than deserves all of those Oscars and has aged amazingly well.


A serial killer nicknamed Buffalo Bill is on the loose, killing and skinning young women.  Jack Crawford (Scott Glenn) of the FBI decides that the incarcerated Hannibal “the Cannibal” Lector (Anthony Hopkins), a psychological genius, might be able to help them profile and find Bill.  Crawford assigns the job to fresh FBI recruit Clarice Starling (Jodie Foster).  In their first meeting, Lector is almost immediately inside her head and playing mind games. (more…)

MOVIE REVIEW | ***REMAKE WEEK*** All the King’s Men (2006)

All_the_kings_men

“Listen to me, you hicks! Lift up your eyes and look at God’s blessed and unfly-blown truth. This is the truth! You’re a hick. Nobody ever helped a hick but a hick himself.”

2006, a time when America was balls deep into the reign of a president in the pockets of oil companies and any other corporation who might be able to make a few bucks out of war in the Middle East.  I’m sure for the movie studio, making a movie about political corruption, based on a famous novel that had already been turned into a classic movie, seemed like a sure thing.  Add to that an all star cast, and I’m sure it surprised more than a few people when it ended being a $42million loss.  Well, it turns out, All the King’s Men is better than the box office receipts would have you believe.


Sean Penn is Willie Stark, an altruistic everyman who only wants the best for his state of Louisiana.   When the current administration, represented by Tiny Duffy (James Gandolfini) notice he’s gaining grass roots support, they decide to embrace his popularity and make him one of their own.  One step ahead, Willie double crosses Duffy and sweeps the next election, becoming the most popular Governor in the state’s history…  For the time being. (more…)

MOVIE REVIEW | Manhunter (1986)

manhunter_fl

Michael Mann is possibly the most 80s director of the 80s.  Even though he only made three features in that decade, as the executive producer of the Miami Vice television series, he can take much of the blame for the clichéd look of the era that has been used in so many clichéd punch lines in the years since.  Watching Manhunter made me realise how familiar I was with his style of film making, without having really seen that much of Michael Mann’s work.


Probably most famous for being the Hannibal Lecktor movie before The Silence of the Lambs, Manhunter, based on the novel Red Dragon (not the confused with the Lambs sequel of the same name), follows an FBI agent, played by William Peterson, on the trail of a serial killer.  Also like Lambs, he hopes to use the incarcerated Hannibal Lecktor (Brian Cox) in his persuit.  Unlike Lambs, Peterson already knows exactly who Lecktor is, because he’s the one who caught him and put him in prison.  Where Jodie Foster was scared of the unknown of Anthony Hopkins’ Lecktor, Peterson already knows everything he ever can about Cox’s Lecktor and even has the scars (literal and emotional) to prove it.

Because this is Michael Mann in the 80s, the score is littered with synthesiser drones and each scene is drenched in a strong colour filter to let us know which side of Peterson’s world we’re dealing with at any given moment.  Subtly is not really a big concern of Mann’s and here every aspect, acting, dialogue, camera, editing, is turned up to eleven to make sure he gets his point across.

Peterson, the conflicted FBI analyst still reeling from is time chasing Lecktor gets to show his emotions by literally screaming his feelings and outrage when piecing together how his latest prey carried out his crimes.  His latest prey, known as the Tooth Fairy, is played by a creepy as shit Tom Noonan.  He’s somehow way more disturbing then Buffalo Bill in Lambs without getting as many blatantly horrific things to do.  Sure, Mann lets the Tooth Fairy pursue and seduce a blind woman for added menace, but even without that, he’s legitimately terrifying.

Despite being a flop on release, Manhunter has built a bit of a reputation as the better of the Lecktor movies.  In some ways I agree, Cox’s Lecktor is more subdued than Hopkins’, but in being so, loses some of the fun that added to the threat of Hopkins’ incarnation.  Jody Foster definitely gets a more interesting role to play as the protagonist than Peterson.  Peterson knows what he’s up against and has already been damaged by it.  His story is all about redemption and getting some control back.  Foster gets to play the wet behind the ears rooky.  Being so out of her element and more and more blown away with each revelation about by who she’s dealing with makes her a more relatable audience surrogate.

But it’s biggest achievement?  While everything about Manhunter screams 1980s, it still somehow manages to have a timeless quality to much of it and you can see why film studios keep going back to the Lecktor character and these stories.

Manhunter
Directed By – Michael Mann
Written By – Michael Mann